Food with a Purpose

Natural Products ExpoI recently attended ExpoWest, where I turbo-shopped through thousands of booths at the Anaheim Convention Center. Apparently I was in good company – reports say that 63,000 folks in the industry attended, setting a new record. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my observations, along with introducing a few of the inspiring creators of the healthful foods we eat.

One thing that stood out was the number of companies selling food with a purpose. What this means is that a portion of every cookie, bar and nut sold gets donated to a designated cause. Surely these companies are run by Millennials, I thought, since the socially aware spirit of the generation born between 1982 and about 2004 is one of their defining characteristics. True to a point. But then I met the folks at Papa Ben’s Kitchen, founded by an 80-something patriarch to help support his Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. So you don’t have to be in your 20s, give or take, to want to give back to others.

Back to the Roots turns spent coffee grounds, tea leaves, grains and hops, and okara into compost that it packages in grow-your-own-mushroom kits. I can’t wait to grow my own! For every happy grower who posts a photo of their fully grown kit on Facebook, Back to the Roots donates a kit and a sustainability curriculum to an elementary school of the poster’s choice.

I love Sweet Loren’s ready-to-bake cookie dough and brownie batter because they’re made from 100% WHOLE GRAIN! But Loren, who is a cancer survivor, also donates a percentage of sales to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Love with Food sells themed food gift packs filled with healthful gourmet foods. You can buy them for a single occasion or subscribe for a gift-pack-of-the-month. For every box sold, Love with Food donates a meal to a hungry child.

The founders of Kutoa Health Bars are on a mission to empower change through health. For every yummy handcrafted oat-fruit-nut bar sold, Kutoa, through its partnership with the World Food Program, donates a nutrition kit to a malnourished child.

FreshPaper is a sheet of herb-impregnated paper that helps keep fruits and vegetables fresh for two to four times longer. Fenugreen, the social enterprise that created FreshPaper, has two driving missions. One is to reduce loss of food due to spoilage, both in the US and around the world. The second is its “Buy a Pack, Give a Pack” initiative to match FreshPaper purchases with donations to local food banks.

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